Construction is underway at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital on a new and much improved emergency operation. The new Emergency room will come fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology that will allow the staff to treat patients with greater quickness and efficiency. “To give you an example,” says Karen Stanley, Chairman of the Board at the hospital, “this emergency center we have now is really built to accomodate about 12,000 visits per year, and historically we’ve been running about 18,000 per year.”Stanley says many factors have led to the rise in emergency room visits making this new facility a necessity. “Well I think there are a number of things at play here, one we have under-insured or people that are not insured at all, so too often the emergency department becomes their first contact with the medical profession, plus we have an aging population in Hancock county so there is a lot of usage going through our emergency department.” The construction began in the fall and the project comes with a hefty price tag. The hospital has secured $5 million dollars from a state bond and is in the process of raising the rest.”This is a $10 million dollar project,” says Jack Mccormack, Interim CEO, “the goal is to raise $5 million of that and the fundraising is ongoing, it’s been very successful so far, we have a long way to go but people have been very generous.”The new facility will have dozens of new features including a helipad. The folks here say that’s a welcome sight. “We provide a high level of care but we don’t provide the tertiary services,” says Mccormack, “when we determine they are needed, we need to get patients transferred as quickly as possible.”The project is set to be completed in January. Stanley says the people who work here are already excited. “This hospital has some of the greatest employees, I would put them up against any in the state or in the nation so it’s something they really deserve.”
It’s opening weekend at the 160th Bangor State Fair, and according to organizers,it’s so far so good.”Yesterday was a banner day,” says Mike Dyer, Director of the fair, “we were really pleased, we had 15,000 people on the fairgrounds.”To try and combat the strugling economy, fair officials have introduced the $10 wristband, which gets you admission to the fair as well as unlimited access to all the rides.The promotion has many fairgoers wanting to make a return trip to bass park.”Everybody seems to love it,” says Dyer, “even the people who are soaking wet waiting to get on rides and stuff were going to go home and take a day off and come back on tuesday or saturday, i think it’s the right thing to do for the times.”The economy isn’t the only concern. The folks who run the fair know that an event like this is at the mercy of mother nature. “The weather has been good, you do 10 days outdoors you understand your gonna get a little bit of bad weather, you’re gonna catch a few bad breaks.”While business seems to be booming inside these gates, what effect does the fair have on other local businesses?”We definitely get pretty busy,” says Lindsey Mckay, a server and bartender at Paddy Murphys in Bnagor. “Everybody is kind of in town, we get slammed all at the same time, everybody decides decides they want to go have lunch and dinner at the same time.”Up to this point all signs are pointing to a wildly successful year, both here on the fairgrounds and for buisnesses in the area.”We’re way ahead of last year,” says Dyer, “we had some real tough breaks with weather and lost what would have been some really big days, right now we’re 1/3 of the way to last years total after two days.””It’s awesome,” adds Mckay, “it brings in a great crowd, everyone is excited, it’s an awesome atmosphere, yeah we’re definitely pretty busy.”
Thousands of music, dance and art lovers spent the weekend in Belmont.The seventh annual BelTek festival started Friday evening and continued through Sunday.The event showcases talent from all over the world…from fire breathers to painters, dancers and sculptors.The festival was founded in 2002 by local radio programmer Rick Kidson…he wanted to bring the experience of live electronic music to folks in the midcoast region.Kidson is donating part of the proceeds from the event to the Good Shepherd Food Bank and local radio station WERU FM.
Government officials plan on suspending the “cash for Clunkers” program unless the Senate approves another 2 billion dollars in funding.Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he expects the current billion one dollars in funding will be exhausted by the end of this weekend.The administration hopes the Senate will add 2 billion to the government rebate program that gives consumers cash incentives totrade-in old gas guzzlers for more fuel-efficient vehicles.LaHood says the administration will continue the program until the Senate acts on the proposal. He said dealers will be reimbursed for deals in the pipeline and that the government will make a “good-faith effort” for transactions beginning Monday.
Starting next month, two central Maine newspapers will be printed in South Portland.The Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel will be printed in the same facility that prints the Portland Press Herald.All three papers are owned by Maine Today Media…which bought them from the Seattle Times Company in June.Publisher Richard Connor says having all the papers printed in the same facility will strengthen the company and make better use of one of the nation’s most modern printing facilities.He says jobs in the press, production and distribution departments in Augusta, where the Central Maine papers are currently printed, will be offered to those who wish to work in South Portland. And he said he has notified many employees in the entire company that they may be offered buyouts.
The 101-st Air Refueling Wing out of Bangor has a new commander.During a change of command ceremony Sunday, Brigadier General Stephen Atkinson relinquished control of the unit to Colonel John D’Errico.General Atkinson has served with the Maine National Guard since 1977, and as commander of the 101st for more than four years.During that time, he was responsible for the full range of command, discipline, and training for the Wing. Major General Bill Libby says that was no small feat, considering the increase in activity following 9/11.< "since 9/11, this unit has had hundreds of men and women on active duty, providing the refueling support this nation needs to transport its troops, its equipment and its fighters overseas.">General Atkinson is now taking on a new role, as Chief of Staff at Maine National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in Augusta. New commander Colonel John D’Errico has served with the Guard since 1978.Before serving as Vice Commander of the 101st Air Refueling Wing for over the past three years, Colonel D’Errico also filled the roles of Operations Officer and Commander with the 132nd Air Refueling Squadron and Commander of the 101st Operations Group.
A former South Portland man convicted of murder was sentenced to life in prison in the death of a woman 26 years ago.In June, a jury found 52-year-old Thomas Mitchell Junior guilty of sexually assaulting and stabbing Judith Flagg at her Fayette home in January 1983.The crime went unsolved for decades until police used DNA and new technology to link Mitchell to the scene.At the time of his arrest, Mitchell was completing prison sentences for kidnapping, sexual assault and attempted murder. His lawyer says Mitchell maintains his innocence and will appeal the murder conviction.
Two people were taken to the hospital after a pickup truck collided with a rescue vehicle in Newport Saturday evening.It happened just before 6 p.m. on Elm Street, just past the Ridge Road intersection.A Newport Fire and Rescue crew was headed out on an emergency call…with lights and sirens on…when they were struck head-on by a pickup truck.State Police say it appears the driver of the pickup was trying to maneuver around a car that had stopped in the middle of the road…and in doing so, drove into the path of the rescue vehicle.The pickup driver suffered leg injuries and was taken to the hospital.His passenger was also transported, with minor injuries.The two firefighters in the rescue vehicle suffered bumps and bruises.So far no charges have been filed.The crash is under investigation.
F-A-A officials are investigating a helicopter crash off Little Deer Isle.It happened just before 5 p-m on Saturday.The internationally registered helicopter made a controlled landing using floatation devices.None of the four people aboard were injured.A lobster boat towed the undamaged helicopter to shore.F-A-A officials don’t know where the helicopter was going or why it had to land in the water. An investigation is underway.
Hundreds of music lovers descended on Winterport Saturday for the town’s annual music festival.Now in its fourth year, the festival showcases all kinds of local talent…and also raises money for a great cause.Part of the admission fee goes toward providing music scholarships for students in S-A-D 22.Festival Chair and Town Manager Philip Pitula says attendance has grown every year…and he’s thrilled that the event has become a way for folks to come together to hear some great music…and help kids in their community.
The Senate has approved five million dollars for a UMaine study on offshore wind generation.The money comes from a 2010 energy and water appropriations bill just approved by lawmakers.The proposed research program would study wind turbine technology that can operate in the harsh conditions of the Gulf ofMaine.Meanwhile, a state task force continues to discuss the idea ofdeveloping ocean-based renewable energy projects off Maine’s coast.
Parts of Route 295 that have been closed for construction will reopen to traffic this week.The northbound lanes between Gardiner and Topsham have been repaved. With the work done, the northbound and southbound lanes in the 17-mile stretch of 295 are reopening. The contractor finished three weeks ahead of schedule.Southbound traffic has been rerouted from the highway to U.S. Route 201 since mid-June when the 35 million dollar project got underway. It was funded with federal stimulus money.
A ship christened Saturday at Bath Iron Works has been named for a Marine who jumped on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers in Iraq.Corporal Jason Dunham of New York was a Medal of Honor winner.He died in April of 2004…8 days after the grenade blast.Members of Dunham’s battalion were on hand for the christening, along with his family members.
Federal Aviation Administration officials are investigating a plane crash in Livermore Falls.It happened this morning.The single-engine plane had just taken off from Bowman Airfield when it crashed.Two people were onboard…neither suffered serious injuries.No word yet on what caused the crash.The investigation is underway.
Maine parks as economic engines.That was the topic of discussion today at a citizen summit in Belfast.Doctor John Crompton is a distinguished professor at Texas A and M University, he was was the guest speaker at the event.Crompton says too many folks see parks and recreation as added extras, when in some cases, they’re actually central to economic development.” It’s central in several senses. First of all in terms of quality of life. Many businesses are looking for today. However you define quality of life parks and recreation are part of it.”The event was free and open to the public.
Customers at Borders can give a book and help a child or adult.Starting today Borders has teamed up with the Literacy Volunteers of Bangor.The price of books range from 3 dollars to 15 dollars.And can improve the literacy of children and adults.All the book donations from Borders’ patrons will go directly into homes in the area where they are needed most.Something Cafe Supervisor Ann Redman says they are happy to help with.” We feel great. I mean like I said anything we can do. We know how hard it is right now. Everybody is having such a hard time with the economy and having a hard time time making ends meat. So the fact that we can take $2.99 book and say here you go give it to an adult who needs to learn how to read or a kid from that family who is also trying to learn how to read makes all the difference in the world.”For more information on how you can support a more literate community call the Literacy Volunteers of Maine at 947-8451.
A family of five from Pittsfield who lost their home to a fire.Are now closer to getting a new home thanks to folks all across the state of Maine who have donated money and items.As Meghan Hayward tells us the family is use to giving by not receiving.Less than two months ago the Dodge family of Pittsfield lost their home in a fire.But in that small amount of time things have started coming together.Chaplin of the Sheriff’s Department Kevin Brooks has been helping build the Dodge’s new home.He says the family of five deserve all the support.” Typical rural Maine family. Just pulling together, working with what they can do to help each other out and meet their basic needs.”Brooks says the Dodge family would much rather be giving then receiving.” Will is the kind of guy, he would do things for others as well. It’s a little hard for him to accept some help but he needs it right now.”Brooks says he is surprised with the progress.” More than I expected I came Monday to check in on him and I saw the walls standing. I expected to just see slab so he’s really been doing well.”Michael Havey is a neighbor to the Dodge family and has been lending a hand too.” I’ve just been helping them with the rafters and came out and helped burn the rest of his house down a couple weeks ago.”Havey says he’s happy with the number of people who have come our to help.” Well it’s nice to see everybody. It’s real important for a small town to come together and help everybody else out.”Something Brooks says speaks volumes for the small communities in Maine.” I think it speaks well of it, pulling together and trying to help each other out. I think a lot of other communities would do just the same.”
Animal lovers in the Belfast area are invited to what’s sure to be an emotional film screening this weekend.”An American Opera: The Greatest Pet Rescue Ever” is an award-winning documentary about pets left behind during Hurricane Katrina.The director will be showing the film on Sunday evening at the Colonial Theatre in Belfast, and he’s getting local animal organizations and rescue groups involved.It’s part of what he’s calling “The Rescue Party Tour,” his effort to help local animal causes across the country. He says the movie’s content often spurs people to want to help.”People have come away from the screening feeling very motivated or empowered to make a difference in their communities. And that’s what I was hoping to do,” says director Tom McPhee.He cautions that the movie’s content is powerful and not intended for people under 14.An American Opera will be shown this Sunday at the Colonial Theatre in Belfast at 6:15. Tickets range from 10 to 25 dollars, with some proceeds going to local animal charities.For more information, visit the Rescue Party Tour online.
(AP) – The Maine Center for Disease Control and Maine Education Department say they’ll be working with schools on a flu vaccination program for students this fall. Dr. Dora Anne Mills, Maine CDC director, says the program will likely start with large-scale vaccinations against the seasonal flu, followed by vaccinations against swine flu when they become available. Mills says that there’s no plan at this point to make the inoculations mandatory. As it stands, there are more than 300 laboratory-confirmed cases of swine flu in Maine, but the actual number is believed to be far higher. The state is holding a “flu summit” in August. Education Commissioner Susan Gendron says it represents an opportunity to plan for the fall, when students return to school.
The Environmental Protection Agency is providing an exciting activity for kids.EPA is letting kids learn about life aboard an ocean research ship and all the work done to protect New England’s coastal waters.Starting today, and continuing for a week you can follow scientists from EPA’s ocean survey vessel.EPA staff will post information onto a daily web-based logbook.To follow along go to their website www.epa.gov/ne/bold kids.